Best Field Trip EVER!

Hayden, a student at Ecole St. Catherine’s School in Halifax recently won a class tour of the new Halifax Central Library that’s opening this weekend. A big thanks to Hayden and his mom, Jennifer, for sharing some of the juicy details with us…have a read and see for yourself.

It sounds amazing!

outside library

Standing outside the front doors of the new Halifax Central Library, Hayden’s grade 3 class was a little bit excited. Heather Doepner (Children Services Librarian) asked “Where is Hayden?” Everyone pointed and Hayden jumped up and raised both hands with pride. It was his entry into the Halifax Public Library Summer reading program contest that made this once in a lifetime school trip a reality for his class. Heather shared that we were in fact the first school trip to ever visit the new Central Library and another wave of excitement came over everyone, with many cries of “Awesome” from the class.

Even before the trip, Ecole St Catherine’s School was a buzz with excitement about the library tour. The students in Hayden’s class knew that this would be a special day and they waited for this day with great anticipation.
When we finally did walk through the doors of the library, everyone was in awe, one student even fell to his knees, saying “Thank you”

We love Central library

The stairs themselves were something to see, bright white, zig zagging all the way to the top! We climbed up the stairs to the second floor, looking up, way up and everyone was amazed at the size of the library – many kids commenting that this is the biggest library they have ever seen. It was tough for all to stay calm and take it all in. The students and parents were in awe of the space, the staircase and the size of the building.

We settled into the Lindsay children’s room (located on the second floor) an awesome space with glass walls, lots of light and vibrant red walls and floors where everyone was immediately comfortable. We had a quick circle to go over the plan for the day, fielded questions about ipads, Mincraft & Tin Tin and then we were off to explore.

book sorting system

The first stop was the conveyor belt, everyone lined up along the side and watched the books come in. It was hard to stand back as everyone wanted to be up close! There was definitely interest in “riding” the conveyor belt but of course, this request was quickly declined.

From the 1st floor we took the elevators (there are actual touch screens inside the elevator – a big hit with the kids) all the way to the 5th floor. We quickly noticed the view from all sides as how comfy the furniture is in the Pavia cafe area. Watching the kids check out the “Halifax Living Room” quite something to see. They were immediately impressed and many were a bit “freaked out” by the floor to ceiling glass over Spring Garden Road. It was quickly decided that this was the best place in the library (even though we had not seen the 2, 3 or 4th floors yet).

The 4th floor being mostly grown up stuff and having lots of furniture and last minute work ongoing, was not a focus for our tour but we did stop to take a look down and again notice the size of this place!
study pod
We moved onto the 3rd floor where we got to check out a “study pod” not a room but not an open space, a table, 2 benches and 2 walls to give groups a place to work that is comfortable but not isolated from the rest of the library. I don’t think they are designed for 8 year olds, but they definitely had fun trying to fit the entire class into one pod.

first nations circle
Also on the 3rd floor the entire class took a seat in the beautiful First Nations circle. We talked about the circle as a symbol and also how the class uses circles at school to communicate, share and work out issues.

Lego table
Finally we moved back to the 2nd floor and suddenly nothing else we had already discovered seemed important, this 2nd floor was the place to be! Students tried their hand at Makey Makey where potatoes and bananas was used to conduct energy and make music, circuit station and  LEGO table but perhaps the most fun was the very hands on learning of the flexible furniture in the children’s area. The seating can be stacked, made into tunnels, tires to roll and more. Some students even made patterns lining up the more sturdy stools by colour.

furniture play
After a much appreciated pizza lunch (I know PIZZA in the library – best field trip lunch ever) we were back out in the children’s section where many students settled down with a few favourite books.

Last but not least the students had a chance to speak to Matt (from Library Communications) and share their thoughts on the library and then make a short video to let everyone know that they love Central Library. Some of the themes shared in students comments:

  • I love to read and this is a great place to read
  • This is so much more than books!
  • Awesome
  • I like this red room the best
  • I will come here all the time
  • I want to stay here and play with this LEGO all day!
  • You can even see the harbour from here
  • Best field trip ever

After the interviews it was time to head home but not before everyone received their own Share the WOW water bottle and bookmark. (the gifts were very much appreciated and have become everyone’s primary water bottle at school)

As we climbed on the bus to head home the students were all recounting their favourite parts and looking forward to telling everyone about this amazing day.

These grade 3 students have many field trips ahead of them, but I have a feeling that this one will hold a place in their hearts and minds for years to come!

Thanks again Hayden and Jennifer. Sounds like you had quite a visit!  The rest of us can check it all out this weekend at the opening of this amazing new space in Halifax. Woot-woot!

NOTD: Joe Fresh Cinnamon

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